Thursday
Jul
2012
19

It’s Free Stuff Thursday!

by Brad Moore  |  73 Comments

Hey gang, Brad Moore here with this week’s news and free stuff!

High School Football Photography with Dave Black and Scott Kelby
You’ve gotta check out this new Kelby Training class from Sports Illustrated photographer Dave Black on High School Football Photography! Join Dave and Scott Kelby on the sidelines of a high school football game to learn all their tips and secrets to getting the greatest shots you can.

Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Tour – NASHVILLE & PHILADELPHIA
Wake up Tennesseeans! Scott Kelby is bringing the Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Tour to the greatest state capital in the country, Nashville (though I may be a bit biased), on Monday!

After that, he’s heading up to Philadelphia on Friday, July 27 for the second tour stop!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free ticket to each of these seminars (I’ll pick for Nashville tomorrow).

Photoshop World Photo Walks
Register for Photoshop World by Sunday, July 22 and you’ll have the chance to participate in one of the following FREE photo walks:

Las Vegas By Day!
Taking place in the afternoon on Tuesday, September 4, the Explore Las Vegas By Day photo walk, led by noted photographer and onOne Software manager Brian Matiash, will take you through Las Vegas and give you the chance to absorb, embrace and capture the essence of Las Vegas during the day.

Las Vegas By Night!
Taking place in the evening on Thursday, September 6, the Explore Las Vegas By Night photo walk, led by noted photographer and B&H marketing manager Gabriel Biderman, will take you through The Entertainment Capital of the World at night to capture the beauty of this cultural mecca.

Head over to PhotoshopWorld.com to sign up today!

Get Roberto Valenzuela’s Picture Perfect Practice for $9.99
If you enjoyed yesterday’s guest post from Roberto Valenzuela, make sure you check out this week’s Peachpit eBook Deal of the Week, his Picture Perfect Practice for just $9.99! This offer is only good through Saturday, so make sure you pick it up before then!

Leave a comment for your chance to win a free download of the ebook!

Bert Stephani Workshop
If you watched The Grid yesterday, you had the pleasure of seeing Bert Stephani take part in blind critiques with Scott and Matt. Now he’s on his way to West Palm Beach to teach his Portrait and Lighting Workshop from July 20-22! Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from one of the best.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Bert’s Motivational Light DVD!

Last Week’s Winners
Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Seminar
- Shadow Fox Fotos

Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers
- Dale Willingham
- Todd Crump
- John Dewberry

Wednesday
Jul
2012
18

It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Roberto Valenzuela

by Brad Moore  |  18 Comments

Scarcity. Do you panic when you confront it, or do you embrace it?  I believe the span of your imagination is directly related to scarcity.  As photographers, we have all been in a situation during a shoot where the conditions are not ideal.   For example, the location is not desirable, the subjects are not “beautiful” or most of your gear is not with you.  Under these less than desirable conditions, our human nature is to wish we had what we don’t.  We think in terms of “If I only had…..,I would be able to…..”(Complete the sentence).  But what if you are at a paid shoot, you must still come through at the level your clients know you can achieve.  Your clients are only concerned with the end product, not the reasons why you couldn’t do what you normally do.  Now, the stage is set for your imagination and creativity to be stretched.  After coming to terms with what you have to work with, the brain will switch from “routine” mindset to a “creator” mindset, a switch that doesn’t happen very often.  It is uncomfortable to work under conditions we are not used to.  Therefore, we subconsciously avoid unpredictability and the unknown as much as we can.

How we can use scarcity to sharpen our creativity
A marathon runner’s endurance is a photographer’s creativity.  Both heavily rely on these vital elements to succeed in their fields.  When a runner goes for a run, the goal is to reach that pivotal point where the body is begging the runner to stop and rest.  This is point is the “golden window”.  That’s precisely the time, when the athlete needs to push throw and fight his irresistible urge to stop and rest.  I call this point in time the golden window, because if one pushes through and continues to run, that person will achieve an increase of endurance.  Next time that person runs, they will be able to run further and faster than ever before.  As photographers, we don’t need to push through exhaustion to gain endurance but we do need to surpass scarcity to gain creativity.  The good news is; we don’t have to wait for scarcity to occur naturally, we can make it happen! Once or twice a week, pick one or two specific issues you would like to address.  Limit your self on what you will be working on to keep it specific and easy to remember.   If you are working on finessing your posing techniques, choose only one pose to work on for particular exercise.  Using only one pose, create different variations of that pose.  You could also keep the pose intact, and create different variations by changing only the light.  By limiting yourself to only one pose, you force your brain to think differently than what you are used to.  This is precisely that of thinking that makes your head hurt, but the results is an increase of our ability to think creatively.   These exercises don’t have to be limited to posing; you can also do them by limiting your equipment on a shoot, perhaps only use one lens.  My favorite kind is location-based scarcity.  In other words, I do a practice photo shoot in a very small area and I must find every angle possible and use the objects around me to create a successful photo shoot within that space.

Example Exercise #1 (incorporating Geometry)
I have always been intrigued at how geometry in our environment influences the visual impact of a photograph.  Geometry can turn an ordinary photograph into a fascinating one.   The fact is geometry is all around us.  Not a minute could go by where people are not exposed to some sort of geometry.  This fact compelled me to train my eye to be more geometry sensitive.  The exercise is quite simple but the results have been remarkable.  I normally take a walk everyday to stay in some sort of shape, and I let my mind wonder for the duration of the walk.  Instead of daydreaming, I began looking for circular shapes, squares and triangles in my route.  I was surprised at how the walk I take every day, suddenly felt brand new to me again.  Clearly the objects in my route have not changed, but my perspective has.  I keep this game up when ever I take a casual walk.  In this photo, I noticed the strong presence of the green square in this scene in the town of Segovia, Spain.

This is just one of hundreds of examples of how I ignore the rest of the scene to train my eye to notice the geometry around me with higher sensitivity.


You can clearly see the influence geometry has in this photograph taken in Chicago.  The squared frames jumped at me from my training and I placed the groom in the reflection from the mirror on the left to create balance in the photograph.


This time, was the circular lamp that grabbed my attention to capture this couple lying in the sun in Paris.  I used the circular lamp for two reasons, to create depth, and also to balance the photograph.  Imagine this photo without the circular lamp; it wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting.


In the previous photographs, the geometry in the environment was pretty obvious, however in this photograph of the couple embracing in Central Park, the arch over their head in the background formed by the rows of trees was much more subtle.  This is where training comes in very handy.  Had I not done my geometry sensitivity training, I would have completely missed this beautiful arch and walked right passed it.

Using scarcity to master the best use of your lenses
In this section, I am referring to limiting the amount of lenses you bring with you to only one or two lenses for a training photo shoot.  Most of us buy every lens we can afford, but rarely do we take the time to really bring out the strengths and know the weaknesses of each of our lenses.  To be able to know when is the best time to bring out the ultra-wide angle lens vs. a medium range lens such as the 24-70mm. requires a keen understanding of how these two lenses will behave differently in the environment you intent to use them in.  Most likely both lenses will do the job just fine, but one of them would have been a better choice than the other to create a higher level of visual impact.  The question is which one and why?

Understanding your lenses Exercise
To find out, I created another exercise where I would leave all my lenses at home except for two, the 16-35mm f/2.8 and the 24-70mm f/2.8.  I went ahead and shot hundreds of photos of people going about their day, architecture, landscapes, etc.   What I learned from reviewing the photos was that if there are strong lines or bold geometry in the environment, than the 16-35mm f/2.8 would exaggerate these lines and shapes greatly and create a much more interesting photo than the 24-70mm f/2.8.  However, if these strong shapes were not present in the environment and the focus was more on the people, than the 24-70mm f/2.8 was the better choice.  I repeated this exercise with all my lenses using only two at a time.

Understanding your lenses exercise results


This photo was taken at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.  You can see the strong lines leading up to the couple.  However, because this photo was taken with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, it fails to really bring out the strength of those leading lines.  In fact, the 70-200mm f/2.8 is such a bad choice for this photo, that it makes those lines more of a distraction than an asset.


Now look what difference it makes to chose the right lens for the right place.  Because of my practice sessions described above, I knew that the 16-35mm f/2.8 lens would be the best fit to exaggerate the length of those leading lines creating a very dynamic photograph.


This photograph really exemplifies the importance of understanding when to pull out what lens.  During a wedding in Beverly Hills, I was faced with this typical stale scene.  To an untrained eye, this scene is exactly what I just described, boring.  However, thanks to the practice sessions, I noticed the circular forms created by the parasols.  Notice how I mentioned the shape before I describe what the object actually is.  That’s because to a photographer, the shape that objects make is far more important than what that object actually is.  Because I know that if I have circles in my scene, I can exaggerate those circles using an extreme wide-angle lens resulting in this image:

The moral of the story here is that by training ourselves through limiting our tools or our locations or the poses we want to master, we will eventually be able to see photographic potential in locations where others simple cannot.  Posing will become an extension of the mood we want to create instead of using most of our energy dealing with technical problems with our posing.  The effort this level of skill requires pays off 1000 fold in our work and the rest of our careers.

THE BOOK: PICTURE PERFECT PRACTICE
If you are interested in learning more about training yourself, you can pick up a copy of my book Picture Perfect Practice, which focuses on precisely this empirical and fascinating topic.  The book can be purchased here.

You can see mor of Roberto’s work at RobertoValenzuelaPhotography.com and follow him on Twitter.

Tuesday
Jul
2012
17

I Have Finally Found My Portfolio App for the iPad

by Scott Kelby  |  57 Comments

One of the most frustrating things about photography gear is that sometimes there are SO many options available to you, it makes it challenging to find exactly what you want. It’s why so many photographers I know (yours truly included) have so many different camera bags, and lenses, and tripods, and filters on and on. We’ll all searching for “the one” that will do everything we want.

Every once in a while, you find it.
Just like I’ve been searching for the perfect iPad portfolio App. There’s a bunch out there, but none of them did all the things I wanted one to do. Some did most of what I wanted, and some did some of what I wanted (and believe me, I tried them all), but I have finally found it. Best of all, it’s only $12.99. I’m not sure I have anything photography related that only costs $12.99.

It’s called FolioBook Photo Portfolio (by Architek, Limited).
While I was on vacation last week, I read another photographer raving about it (I wish I could remember who it was, because I’d like to give him/her credit), and the weird thing is, after I read it, I thought to myself, “Don’t I already have that App?” I did. I just had an older version. Now it’s at 3.0 and the free update addressed some of the things that I felt were missing. I was one happy camper.

Here’s why I love it
(1) First, it lets you create a custom splash screen and layout (that’s mine above — I went with a clean simple look, but it’s very customizable, and you can create separate splash screens for horizontal or vertical layouts). You can import logos and/or background images, and this splash screen is what you see when you launch the App, so it lets you just hand it to somebody and they’re ready to roll. Also, you can lock it down so they can’t accidentally make any edits or mess up the presentation.

(2) You can have as many galleries as you want (well, as many as you have space on screen for anyway), with up to 200 images per gallery.

(3) You can import images already on your iPad, or directly from Dropbox (which is what I used, since I prepped all my images on my laptop. Also, you can upload up to 200 images at once.

By the way, if you have an iPad 3 with the Retina Display, you’re definitely going to want to use higher resolution images (like 2038 x 1053 pixels). When you use the higher resolution like that, the images really look incredible. Otherwise, they look a little soft (not the fault of the App, it’s a screen resolution thing).

(4) You can drag and drop to arrange your photos in the order you want in a thumbnail view (as seen above).

(5) It’s got a great slideshow with different transitions, and it can play background music behind your slideshow, and it’s very simple to configure and use (that’s the pop-down controls shown above).

(6) You can email any photo in your port right from the App itself, so if someone wants a comp, or you want to share an image for any reason, you can do it right there.

(7) I think if any one thing put me over the top, it is the amount of customization you can do. You can really get things just the way you want them (I didn’t realize quite how much you can do until I watched their online video demos, which I strongly suggest, because if not you’ll go hunting for stuff you know it can do, but you’re not sure how). By the way, any time you’re looking in a gallery, you can have a row of thumbnails appear (as seen above) by just swiping down from the top of the screen.

What would I change?
If there is one thing I would change, it’s pretty minor, but it just feels weird. Once you’re looking at a gallery, to return to your main screen (your splash screen with links to your other galleries), you have to do a pinch gesture to shrink the image that’s on screen down to 1/2 its size, the the main screen appears. I’ve been using this App a lot, and I just can’t get used to that. It seems like there’s got to be a better way than pinching, but I’m not quite sure what that might be (tapping once in the corner? Swiping up instead of left/right? I dunno, but pinching just really doesn’t feel right.

The Bottomline
Outside of that one thing I would change, I’m amazed at what it can do for just $12.99. It’s clean, flexible, easy to use, and I love the “client” mode where you can just have them tap the app icon and it’s in presentation mode — ready to go. This is the iPad portfolio App I’ve been waiting for. Thank you Architek, Limited. This is one search I can now stop. Ahhh, now if they only made a laptop bag. ;-)

Here’s the link to it on the App store (or of course you can just go to the App store on your iPad).

 

Monday
Jul
2012
16

I’m Back From Vacation in Disneyland and Hawaii (but not in that order)

by Scott Kelby  |  47 Comments

Man, did I need a vacation (and did I get one!!!). Two full weeks off, starting at Disney’s new Aulani resort on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, and it was supposed to end there, but we got “Disney fever” after seeing a TV ad for new Carsland area of Disney’s California Adventure theme park, so we changed our flight home to stop in LA so we could take the kids of Disneyland  for a few days.

The photo above was taken in “Carsland” —- that’s the life-sized Flo’s V8 Cafe from the movie Cars. Disney recreated Radiator Springs, full size, right down to the street lights, and they did an absolutely brilliant job — it was like walking into the movie. It was way better than I even thought it would be, and of course, the kid’s absolutely loved it! (and we rode all the rides everywhere!).

So, where are the Hawaii photos? Where’s the photo book?
Well….here’s the thing. There aren’t any. I never went out shooting the entire time. I really needed to take a break, and I wanted to spend some uninterrupted time with my family so I basically hung out around the pool, swam with the kids, and just did a whole lotta nuthin’ for days on end. It was awesome!!!!

I did have my camera gear with me to take a few shots at the Battleship Missouri and the USS Bowfin WWII sub, but nothing worth sharing. So, I mostly took shots at Disneyland (which was awesome all the way around, though  I’m still amazed at how small their castle is compared to Cinderella’s castle at Disney World in Florida), and hung out with the wifey and kids, and it really recharged my batteries (besides which, I’m heading to Ireland soon and I’m hoping to take PLENTY of shots on that trip).

One note: if you’re wondering how to get shots where there’s virtually no tourists in the scene, here’s one trick: wait until late, and be really, really, really patient. If you wait long enough, you’ll get a short gap in in the non-stop sea of people where you can grab about two frames. I did it in the middle of the afternoon at the castle and got the bridge in front completely tourist free! Keep the camera up to your eye, and your other eye open so you can see when a gap is about to appear.

Back to reality
Today I’m back in the office and back to reality (sob, sob), but I did miss all my friends here at work so part of me is really glad to be back in the saddle (though the other part is already missing those cool tropical breezes and that frozen pina colada beside the winding lazy river pool).

Have a great Monday everyday (sniff, sniff). ;-)

Monday
Jul
2012
16

Catch Kalebra’s Pinterest Show Tomorrow at 6:00 PM ET

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

Tomorrow at 6:00 PM ET is the 2nd episode of my wife Kalebra’s “Playful Side of Pinterest”and she’s got a great panel of guests lined up, including Roni Delmonico, Anna Nguyen and Tana Teel who’ll be  talking about Inspiration for your boards, how to find people to follow and advice on Pinning, plus they’ll be talking about Pinterest’s dirty little secret… Men Pin!! (And she has heavy hitters Trey Ratcliff and Ron Clifford as guests to bring the male perspective). ;)

And of course they’ll be playing a round of “Pin it or Spin It” (everybody watching at home gets to participate this time) and “The Chocolate Game” (think “drinking game” only with chocolate).

When: Tomorrow @ 6:00 PM ET
Where: At this link
What: Lots of fun and inspirational stuff for Pinterest lovers everywhere!

I’ll be watching right along with you!

Friday
Jul
2012
13

Two More Free Tickets to the Photoshop CS6 for Photographers Tour!

by Brad Moore  |  136 Comments

Hey gang, Brad Moore here again to give away a couple more tickets to Scott’s new Photoshop CS6 for Photographers seminar tour!

I know I just mentioned this yesterday, but I figured you wouldn’t mind if we decided to give away a couple more tickets to these :-)

Leave a comment if you want a free ticket to the Nashville, Philadelphia, or New York City seminars!

And… for your enjoyment, here’s the latest episode of The Grid! This week was “The Gear Episode” with Matt Kloskowski and RC Concepcion. So, if you’re a gear head, this one’s for you :-)

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